Have You Unnecessarily Paid Fees To The PLA?
One of the discussion points during my last meeting with the CAA was the PLA preventing drone flights over the Thames and requesting ridiculous fees. The PLA are against drones being flown over or near the Thames, unless of course they can benefit financially from it and this has been a hot topic of debate in many social media groups. I have a spoken to a PfCO holder who advised that the PLA have lied to the police and NATS in order to prevent PfCO operators getting permission for the flight and they continually over estimate their power to prevent drone use around the Thames. Andrew Hamilton from the CAA has told me in person that the PLA have no authority over the airspace and that the CAA have no issue with any drone flight that takes place in accordance with the ANO and the operators PfCO. Remember however that permission will still be required for the take off location and if the take off location is owned by the PLA they are within their rights to charge, providing the take of location is publicly owned with no bylaws or privately owned with permission from the landowner an overflight of the Thames at 50m+ is within the law and not subject to any fees.
Unfortunately the PLA will continue on trying to fleece operators until such time as someone takes them to court and wins. This is of course a costly and time consuming process so I don’t see it happening in the near future but one can hope. The PLA have been making empty threats to a PfCO holder local to me for the last 3/4 years over his flights around and over the Thames but the PLA are yet to do anything about it, presumably because they know they are wrong they are just trying their luck!
I will finish up this post with a few images taken over the Thames without permission from the PLA